August 25, 2012

Red Sox Suspend Aceves For Three Games

After turning in one of the worst relief appearances of all time on Thursday night against the Angels, Alfredo Aceves was furious at not getting the call for a possible save the following night against Kansas City.

Andrew Bailey pitched 1.1 innings and closed out Boston's 4-3 win on Friday night.

Mike Petraglia, WEEI:
According to three sources inside Fenway Park, Alfredo Aceves tore off his jersey while making his way from the bullpen back to the clubhouse in the moments after Boston's 4-3 win over the Royals ...

After Aceves dressed in the clubhouse, he stormed into the office of manager Bobby Valentine and slammed the door behind him.

According to one source, he requested a meeting with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and was denied at a time when Cherington was working to finalize the blockbuster trade sending Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. On Saturday, Aceves was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team" ...
The Red Sox will not miss Aceves when he's gone. According to Fangraphs:
Among 147 qualified relievers ... Aceves ranks 130th in ERA (4.60) and 118th in FIP (4.23). He's blown seven of 32 save chances, and after [Thursday's] fiasco he's now 140th out of those 147 qualified relievers in WPA (-1.23).


Maxwell Horse said...

But he's a crazy bulldog! He's got the closer's mentality and everything.

Tom DePlonty said...

I don't know what his numbers were like, but a lot of people thought he was valuable as a spot starter and long reliever in 2011. I think the team gets part of the blame here, for putting him in a role that wasn't a good fit to his strengths.

Jere said...

"But he's a crazy bulldog! He's got the closer's mentality and everything."

But that's the thing. If if he doesn't do that he's soft and doesn't care about winning and hates you and is unlikeable and is a cancer who cares more about golf, month-old meetings, charity events, chicken, beer, and two beers than baseball. Was he stupid to think he was the right choice to close that night after pitching so much and so poorly the night before? Yes. Was he stupid to be violent because of it? Yes. But if the people want guys that care, shouldn't he be beloved for this? (I'm saying this in Satan's Advocate voice.) He's also the money-saving non-Papelbon option* that people seem to think automatically works. He's like the perfect guy for the people the media has brainwashed! Cheap, wants to win, doesn't matter if he's good or not. That's what the fans have been told to crave.

*Of course (and this is also in response to Tom's comment) he's not even the guy they got be the closer, he's been a fill-in all year, was behind Bailey and Melancon before the season.

johngoldfine said...

If the baseball is poor, grant that the melodrama and soap opera are superb. A consolation prize for masochists, but all we have had for a year now.

Maxwell Horse said...

Jere, have you seen some of my other posts regarding, well, anything? It's kind of weird hearing someone else trying to explain to me how people are shaped largely by popular concensus and what they're told to believe. I mean, that's my whole thing.

Earlier this year I remember defending Shoppach along similar lines when he reportedly argued with Valentine when Salty got the start more days in a row than Shoppach liked. (Although that was on a different message forum.) I asked people if Shoppach's desire to play wasn't the very thing they wanted from a player. (Ironically this might've been around the time Adrian was being blasted for supposedly being "soulless.")

But for me personally I think Aceves is a little different. For one, I used the "crazy bulldog" line because it's one that I've heard people frequently use this year as a reason for why he's a good closer. Even after him being consistently mediocre, they'd say this. And for me that always sounded ridiculous, both because it sounded like just another lazy cliche people liked to repeat once they heard others say it, but also because I had no idea how that alone was supposed to make him a good closer. (And indeed it didn't.) "Crazy Bulldog" is worthy of as much ridicule as "mystique and aura."

Another reason why I'm not feeling the same level of sympathy to Aceves' situation is that he's been pretty awful all year. To the degree where I've personally felt pissed at him. It's almost like Punto charging into Valentine's office and flipping over the desk if one day he was replaced in the lineup with a healthy Middlebrooks.

As you noted, the fact that Aceves threw so many pitches the day before makes it perfectly logical for Valentine not to go with him the next day. So why would Aceves go crazy? For me the answer to that is obvious. It's because he's as insecure and territorial as a character from Mean Girls. And maybe the reason Valentine has used him insanely this year (4 days in a row, etc) isn't because he has a magical "rubber arm" like they've told us, but because of that other ridiculous thing I've heard about Aceves a lot--if the club didn't placate him, or if Valentine didn't pitch him at every possible chance, even against medical sanity, then the team would "lose" him. Which for me--especially when seeing how Aceves has behaved--basically means he would make life very difficult for the club (Jay Payton style) if you "crossed him."

I know that sounds like a WEEI-caller type charge I'm making against Aceves. (In fact we've all heard such ridiculousness levelled at all kinds of different Sox players this year. They've all been painted as villains, usually against all logic.) While I personally thought that idea when applied to any of the other players was ridiculous, with Aceves, not so much. And I don't see his behavior as a sign of Pedroia-like "just put me out on the field, coach, I know I can win the game for you!" With Aceves it feels more like, "Invade my territory and I'll slash your tires."

I don't think the two things are muturally exclusive. Even though the fans are worthy of being blasted for blindly jumping on any bandwagon slogan (in this case, the idea that the players largely don't care), that shouldn't absolve someone from criticism just because he shows some fire.

The Joy of Sox post was about how badly Aceves has performed. My sarcastic comment was about how irrelevant the "crazy bulldog" idea has always been. The fact that Aceves showed emotion and wants to play doesn't make those things untrue.

allan said...

the melodrama and soap opera are superb

Never a dull moment.

I never would have guessed that Bobby Valentine would outlast Adrian Gonzalez in Boston.

allan said...

because of that other ridiculous thing I've heard about Aceves a lot--if the club didn't placate him, or if Valentine didn't pitch him at every possible chance, even against medical sanity, then the team would "lose" him. ... With Aceves it feels more like, "Invade my territory and I'll slash your tires."

We heard these rumblings at the beginning of the season when Valentine was talking about (and using, to some extent) Melancon and Padilla, etc. I think there is some validity to it.

And this incident has nothing to do with the media. Aceves was passed over (more because he threw 37 pitches the night before than because he was mega-shitty, imo) and he flipped out. And the team punished him for it. That's it. Now either they have decided to really lay down the law with the players or Aceves went way over the line. Or both. But this is 0% media-generated or driven.

laura k said...

Jere, maybe you were using my sarcasm cloaking device, the one that makes sarcastic comments appear as unironic.

Maxwell Horse said...

Sort of tangentially related to this thread:

So once in a while a player is indeed worthy of being criticized for their behavior. And like a blind squirrel finding a nut, the sheep are actually correct when they get into WEEI frothing mode.

But for some perspective (and what I assume Jere was referencing), for every Aceves who (in my opinion) legitimately deserves criticism, there are 10 stories for which the "most intelligent fans in baseball" screech, "Youkilis was faking playing bad to get traded!! He's a traitor!"

At the Boston Globe Extra Bases page there is a short blurb about how Ortiz may have to go on the D.L. again because his ankle isn't feeling better. In my opinion about half the comments under that story possess the ability to cut a reader's IQ in half. It reminded me how depressing it is to visit mainstream anything.

"...Please let this whiny Phony go! His booboo is hurting on his heel. Its so clear he wants to rest on his laurels this year!Let him go before we have to hear the crying about a new contract!..."

"...There is no way this man seriously injured himself on that "leisurely trot" around second base. I am convinced Papi is faking his injury, so that he can negotiate next year's contract..."

"...It was supposed to be a three day injury, then it was 10 days and now it is two months. C'mon ortiz, it looks like you hit your peak this season and decided that your numbers could only go down from here - so why not shut it down?..."

Now that's the paradigm I think Jere was talking about. I only wish I could slap them from here.

allan said...

Aceves flying separately to west coast (ESPN)

allan said...

SoSHer scotian1:
"According to Rob Bradford on WEEI Sunday morning, Aceves caused Francona some grief last season. He didn't go into details other than saying this was not completely out of character for him. That being said, Francona was pretty successful in keeping the drama from the press as I cannot recall any incidents from 2011."